X-Rite has release four new color management solutions. i1Basic Pro, i1Photo Pro, i1Publish Pro, and i1Publish. The first three are spectrophotometer based units for high end profiling, quality verification, and spot color management. The last is a software and target suite for graphic art professionals to organize their prepress workflows. The unit I will be reviewing is the i1Photo Pro which handles monitor, printer, camera, and projector profiling for the RGB world. The i1Publish Pro does all this but allows you to work with CMYK workspace as well.
The difference between the i1Photo Pro and i1Basic Pro is that the i1Photo Pro does projector and camera profiling and also comes with the ColorChecker Classic mini and the ColorChecker Proof. The basic only does printer quality control where as the photo pro does full RGB profiling. In this part I will look at the monitor and printer profiling systems. See Part I for additional information.
After your hook up the projector to the computer that you will use with the projector, you will want to turn on the projector. As with your monitor, you want to make sure your projector has been on for at least 30 minutes to make sure that the colors are stable. Once it has been, you will want to plug in the i1 Pro Spectrophotometer in to a USB port and then start up the i1Profiler software.
At the bottom of the screen you will see the workflow that you will use to make a projector profile. The i1Profiler gives you the controls to customize the color temperature of your digital projector. This constitutes your white point – the color of the white on your computer display. A standard viewing room comes in at D50, for daylight at noon it is a D65, and for a cooler daylight you would go with a D75.
Next you are given a choice to set your profile settings. As with monitor calibration these are for chromatic adaptation, ICC profile version, and tone response curve. In just about all cases, the default values are the ones you will want to use. On the measurement screen, you will calibrate the spectrophotometer as you did for the monitor.
Once these are set, you place the spectrophotometer into the i1Beamer Holder and point it at the screen. Now the software takes over and a series of colors will be displayed on the screen and be measured by the i1Pro. Once complete, the projector will be profiled and the profile will be installed on the computer.
As for camera calibration, you are provided with a 24-patch ColorChecker Classic Mini target and the ColorChecker Passport Camera Calibration software that you can build custom camera profiles for Adobe Imaging solutions including Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Adobe Bridge. This produces custom camera profiles that work well, even in unusual or artificial light sources.
The software is installed with the i1Profiler software so all that you have to do with the ColorChecker target is take a picture of it and convert it into a DNG file using one of the products listed above. Then, with the ColorChecker Passport software open, drop the DNG file into the software and press create profile. The rest is handled for you. When it is done, it will save the profile in the appropriate directory that Adobe products will look for it. Then all you have to do is select the profile in your photographic editor program.
While you can do this just once for each camera, you can also do it during every shoot that you take it on. You do want to be careful since the card is a fairly thin sheet and you want to keep it from being damaged. I would recommend that if you do find yourself taking it out in the field or studio, go ahead and invest in the full blown ColorChecker Passport as that comes in a very sturdy case and has a white balance feature, as well as a creative enhancement target as well.
The final piece of software that comes with the i1Photo Pro is the PANTONE Color Manager. This will dynamically keep all digital PANTONE libraries up to date, accurate and ready to use in Adobe and Quark creative applications. PANTONE Color Manager is a desktop application for Mac and PC that allows you to select a specific ICC profile, and then determine how any PANTONE Color will output on your selected device.
The tight integration of i1Profiler with PANTONE Color Manager Swatch bridging software will gives you seamless access to all PANTONE colors for precise spot color matching, and accuracy in spot color reproduction. It also makes multiple color space selections simple for easy color translation to multiple applications and is ideal for imaging professionals working with brand color specifications.
I personally think that i1Photo Pro is best system out there for the photographer who handles all of their printing in house and wants to make sure that everything is accurate for a complete round trip calibration. You can go from camera, to display, to projector, to prints for a complete turnkey system. It is easy to use and get amazing results from – even from a beginner.
While at $1399 USD, this may be out of the range for the average consumer – for those I would recommend the ColorMunki, but for the professional, or someone who is trying to become professional especially for those who are printing their own prints the i1Photo Pro is very worth it over the long term and will earn its keep over and over again so I highly recommend the i1Photo Pro.